Business was slow inside Duffers Pub in Rocky Mountain House earlier this year. ((Erin Collins/CBC))

The Alberta town of Rocky Mountain House has decided overwhelmingly to maintain a ban on video lottery terminals in their community.

In a municipal plebiscite Monday, residents voted by a margin of 874 to 274 to continue a 12-year-old ban on the VLTs.

Mayor Jim Bague said he was glad the outcome was so definitive: "I'm happy it was resounding enough that it will put this to bed for a while."

Council did not take a position on the issue.

In 1997, residents voted by a nearly a two-to-one margin to ban VLTs from their community. The move was spearheaded by church leaders who were concerned about gambling addiction and other social problems related to the machines.

But 12 years later, a group of bar owners campaigned to overturn the ban, saying it would increase their revenues and create jobs. They gathered enough signatures on a petition to force the plebiscite.

Bague said he's not surprised the plebiscite lost because the same people who were behind the banning of VLTs 12 years ago were active in this campaign as well.

He said the challenge for town council will be to work with the business community to find other sources of economic growth.